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19 May 2017, 10:56 | Gladys Abbott
President Trump took to Twitter to slam the Justice Department's decision to appoint Mueller as special counsel to investigate Trump campaign ties with Russian Federation.
Mr Comey's firing was one in a series of jarring developments that culminated on Wednesday in the Justice Department's appointment of a special counsel to probe possible ties between Russian Federation and Mr Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.
"(Reporter question off camera): "Did you at any time urge former FBI Director James Comey, in any way, shape or form, to close or to back down the investigation into Michael Flynn. Such tapes, if they exist, would be of great interest to investigators, as are Comey's notes.
Initially it was Rosenstein's memo - critical of Comey's handling of the Hillary Clinton email scandal previous year - that was put forward as the justification for the dismissal.
The Justice Department announced yesterday that former Federal Bureau of Investigation director Robert Mueller has been given sweeping power to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, including potential links between Moscow and Trump campaign associates.
Rosenstein said the Mueller appointment was "necessary in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome". "It seems to me now to be considered a criminal investigation". Committees in both houses of Congress have invited Comey to testify publicly.
The Wednesday evening letter from Rosenstein also heartened Leahy, who had, hours earlier, decried the handling of the investigation on the Senate floor, saying "at this critical time, it is not acceptable to remain on the sidelines".
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Constitutional law Professor David Schultz says the Mueller investigation, like other special prosecutor investigations in U.S. History, will likely take months, even years, and will affect the President's ability to push for key agenda items.
Several lawmakers said Rosenstein requested a point of contact in Congress to coordinate the various probes. Initially, the White House claimed that Trump was simply following the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. Under Justice Department regulations, Mueller will enjoy certain protections against removal by Rosenstein.
Special counsels are a tricky thing, and should be avoided whenever possible.
"I think the vulnerability is that Mueller can take this anywhere he wants for as long as he wants and no one is in control except Mueller".
"The independence is supposed to reassure us, whatever the outcome".
Despite Mr Trump's declarations that there was no conspiracy, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said the Russian Federation investigation now appears to be considered criminal.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio also spoke to the press following Rosenstein's testimony but did not say much on Rosenstein's testimony. Others, including the President himself, have attacked the appointment as further evidence of a design to overturn the election results and oust Trump from office. Two of the countries Trump is set to visit on his first trip overseas are ones where he holds assets - Saudi Arabia and Israel.
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